Yoga. Just the word makes my shoulders drop and my breath deepen. I can visualize the flow of my sun salutations and the absolute calm that comes over me during Shavasana.
When I practice yoga, it’s just me a mat and an hour and a half of guided stretching and meditation. Yoga makes me feel strong, powerful and grounded. Exactly how exercise should make you feel.
Recently, Kristi- the owner of a local yoga clothing boutique, stated on Facebook that she was frustrated with people comparing her company to Lululemon. I couldn’t agree with her more. Why would she want to be compared to Lululemon?
I remember walking into the brand new Lululemon store on Whyte Ave in the early 90′s. My friend Sarai and I went through the store and giggled at the “yoga wear”. We agreed that it was cool that they were a Canadian company, but the clothing was far too yuppie for our punk rock lifestyles. I didn’t think much of it.
When I started practicing yoga on a regular basis, I kept being told to go and buy some Lululemon pants. Supposedly, they had a magical ability to make anyone’s ass look good. I was skeptical, but I went into the store.
I looked through their racks and shrugged. A size 12 was an extra large? Seriously? The friend I was with told me that the fabric was stretchy and that I should just try them on anyway. I looked around at the size of the women in the store (including the staff) and they all had one thing in common, they were much smaller than me.
“lululemon athletica creates components for people to live longer, healthier and more fun lives. If we can produce products to keep people active and stress-free, we believe the world will become a much better place.” – Lululemon Manifesto
Apparently, their manifesto does not include plus-sized women.
In 2005, Chip Wilson- Lululemon’s Founder and CEO talked to the Calgary Herald about the reasons why Lululemon does not carry plus sizes.
Lululemon founder and CEO Chip Wilson says it takes 30 per cent more fabric to put together larger sizes. That stretchy fabric doesn’t come cheap, and he believes women looking for those larger sizes aren’t willing to shell out the extra money.
“It’s a money loser, for sure,” he says. “I understand their plight, but it’s tough.”
If Wilson charged more for plus-size clothes to recoup costs, he’s sure he would be taken to the human rights commission. Plus-size people, he says, are very sensitive.
According to Wilson, I am very sensitive, cheap and in an unfortunate situation. I can understand that Lululemon has their target market and I don’t fit into it (pun intended), but do you have to be an ass about it?
His comments bring up some questions:
- If plus sized women would need to spend more money for extra fabric in their clothing, would you give extra small women a discount?
- Why does Lululemon sell “plus sized” mens wear? Their sizing goes up to 40″. This would be a size 18-20 for women.
- Why did the XL sizing of Lululemon move from a size 14 to a size 12 in 2009?
- Now that Lululemon has moved their manufacturing to China from Canada, wouldn’t the cost of making bigger clothes be even less of an issue?
- If this is how the founder of the company feels towards plus sized women, how is message being presented to their staff members?
Shouldn’t a store so focused on health, well being and the power of exercise be embracing people of all shapes and sizes? Seems like some mixed messaging there.
Even if I could buy a pair of Lululemon pants, I wouldn’t. Sizism is not the way to gain new customers.
I chose to spend my hard earned money at local store who manufactures in Canada and carries clothing for any size. I chose to spend my time thinking about how I can stretch even further into my yoga poses, and not about my pants.
*This is not a sponsored post. These are my personal feelings*